Journeymen hit worth £10million after ‘crazy’ pub business idea becomes global business


Best friends Stefan White and Tom Renshaw have now made £10million after starting out selling nuts to pubs.

After graduating from Queen Mary University of London, the couple spent their days wandering around the capital, hitting up independent drinkers and whipping their product, or calling in pub groups to do the same.

At the time Stefan, 27 and from Stockport, was earning £1,300 a month working in a bar, with rent at £1,250.

The breakthrough came when the Stonegate Group put its snacks in 300 pubs, and other chains soon followed suit.

However, they were forced to rethink their strategy in early 2020 when Covid closed pubs and wiped out 95% of their revenue, Manchester Evening News reports.

The couple came up with the idea after a trip to a pub in Bulgaria

Drowning their sorrows with supermarket beers, Tom had a light bulb moment and suggested expanding into craft beers online, creating care packages for customers to help them through the pandemic.

Initially it was a 12-week project while pubs were closed, but two years later Bier Company – an online store stocking craft beers from breweries across the UK, combined with their own brand Bier Nuts and Bier Crisps – generated a whopping £10 million in sales.

The idea for the business was born after a trip to pubs in Bulgaria, where the couple tasted “incredible” nuts.

Stefan said: “They were so good, especially with beer, they were like nothing we had ever tasted before, and at that point we knew we had to show the UK what was missing. .”

In the summer of 2019, they managed to raise £7,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, of which £5,000 came from friends and family. They also secured a government start-up loan of £24,000.

They invested 95% of the money in the product and so ended up with 100,000 units of nuts in a storage hold in London.

The couple visited 4,000 pubs in just six months
The couple visited 4,000 pubs in just six months

“That’s when door-to-door selling started,” Stefan explained.

“After about six months we had visited about 4,000 pubs, with 500 on board – a success rate of 1 in 8. My shoes were talking to me, my jeans were ripped and I lost 20kg.

To stand out, they created unusual flavors such as Jalapeno and Masala Curry and packaged them in durable, beer-like cans, instead of plastic.

As a child, Stefan said he always found ways to earn extra pocket money, selling his Easter eggs a month later for £1 cheaper than supermarkets and charging his younger brother and sister 2p for jump from his upper bunk bed.

He also resold cans of soft drinks and sweets on the playground for a profit, at a time when chef Jamie Oliver campaigned for a major overhaul of school snacks, banning crisps and chocolate.

Stefan's dad with a Bier Company 'Super Dad' gift set
Stefan’s dad with a Bier Company ‘Super Dad’ gift set

Two other people from Stockport work at the head office in London, including Stefan’s brother Liam, who runs the Bier Club subscription service, and his cousin Cameron, who rose from a McDonald’s up north to become their head of the customer service.

Tom and Stefan also employ eight people in their 45,000 square foot warehouse in Enfield, and the business partners now aim to continue expanding into Europe and the United States.

“This company will be the first name that comes to mind when you talk about craft beer,” Stefan said.

“It will be the brewery once we launch it, the snacks, in the pubs, the online presence, the draft beer dispensers in your homes.

“This business will be everything. Currently it’s Brewdog – but it won’t be in five years.”

For the latest news and stories from around the world from the Daily Star, sign up to our newsletter by clicking here.


About Author

Comments are closed.